Okinawa Fruit on Parade: Tropical Treasures of Miyakojima
18 September 2015
Miyakojima fruits
Okinawa fruit is a natural gift to anyone who eats it, no more so than on the southern island of Miyakojima. It may surprise you to know that, when it comes to the thing most locals love about living there, the stunning ocean beauty actually comes second to the gorgeous fruit. While mangoes are most notable, even bananas can be grown on Miyakojima; in fact, the subtropical climate makes it ideal for the cultivation of a virtual cornucopia of fruits. We would like to introduce just a few of the abundant options available on the island, in hopes that you’ll one day decide to taste the bounty of Okinawa fruit for yourself.
 
mango

Okinawa Mango a Staple of Miyakojima Quality

While islanders certainly boast about the tangy taste of Miyakojima’s widely popular apple mangoes, it is actually the fully ripe Keats mangoes, as rare as they are succulent, that are fast becoming a Miyakojima point of pride. The island is dotted with hardworking farmers who cultivate a variety of mangoes, and owing as much to their dedication as to the blessings of the ocean breeze and fertile soil these high-quality fruits have become popular as gifts even outside of Okinawa. In fact, when thinking about what to buy in Okinawa, tourists in the know often think fruit first.
 
Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit is a cactus fruit. Its defining feature is its skin, which is marked by green points which look like a dragon's claws bursting outward from somewhere within its purple exterior. It can be harvested any time from June to November, an exceptionally long harvest season on Miyakojima. Dragon fruit has a refined sweetness that belies its fearsome name, enhanced by an invigorating acidity; its exotic flavor is often compared to that of a kiwi. Both mangoes and dragon fruits are renowned for their refreshing taste and are therefore often used to make desserts such as parfait, soft cream and sherbet. Of course, we recommend you try some throughout the various restaurants and cafes in Miyakojima.
 
Miyakojima bananas

Miyakojima bananas

If you think of bananas as being quite large, it may be because you have only experienced a certain variety. One special feature of Miyakojima bananas is that they are on the smaller side, like monkey bananas, and their shape makes them easy to hold and eat. Made without artificial preservatives, they are also brimming with natural sweetness. On the island, they are used to make banana spring rolls, banana jam, and are even minced as part of a curry recipe.
 

Passion fruits

The purple passion fruit variety, which is oval-shaped and about the same size as a mango, is often cultivated on Miyakojima. Although it may look like an ordinary grape on the outside, one slice down the middle reveals an explosion of pulpy goodness golden that ignites on your tongue and is truly worthy of its name. Fantastic taste aside, passion fruits are also popular for their moderate acidity, and are known to possess an abundance of folic acid, even as compared other fruits.
 

Guavas

Combine the tang of the ripest strawberry with the gentle texture and shape of a pear, and the guava is born. Rich in vitamin C, guavas are so popular on Miyakojima that people grow them in the gardens in front of their homes from August until October. While people typically drink them as juice, guava leaves have a pleasant aroma that also make them ideal for tea.
 

Flat lemons

Flat lemons, which are known for being both more sour and less sugary than most other citrus lemon varieties, also hold the distinction of being the most well-known Okinawan fruit. Like lemons and sudaches, they are ideal as a cooking supplement or garnish. On Miyakojima, flat lemon juice is typically used as a mixer with shōchū, a special variety of Japanese sake.
 

Beyond the Okinawa Mango Craze: Some Places to Buy Miyakojima Fruits


Although the many varieties of Okinawa mango seem to overshadow other Okinawa fruit delights, we hope that this article has shown you some new possibilities when thinking about what to eat and what to buy in Okinawa. Atarasu Marketplace, near Miyakojima Airport, is famous for selling fresh vegetables and fruit grown exclusively on Miyakojima for a very reasonable price. There is a large array of other local specialties and goods, as well as souvenirs.

Address: 1440-1, Hiraranishizato, Miyakojima City, Okinawa Prefecture 906-0012
Business hours: 9 AM - 7 PM
Regular holiday: None, excluding the New Year's holiday
TEL: 0980-72-2972
 
mango soft
Utopia Farm 
At Utopia Farm, mangoes are harvested right on the premises. Although mangoes are the featured fruit here, you can treat yourself to soft cream and sherbet varieties blending mango with other fruits like papaya and the local variety of island banana. For ice-cream lovers it may sound like a heavenly piece of perfection, but Utopia Farm is actually only 10 minutes away from the Miyako airport by car. 

http://www.utopia-farm.net/ (Japanese only)
Address: 1714-2, Uenomiyaguni, Miyakojima City, Okinawa Prefecture 906-0203
TEL: 0980-76-2949

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